H1B stamping on May1st 2014 in Ottawa,CA


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Successful H1B Stamping at Ottawa, Canada on March 28th 2014
 
My back ground; 
I work for a Global Consulting firm as a full time employee; that is I am a salaried person and get my checks 2 times a month. Right now I am with a direct Client without any vendors in between. 

You will need a Canadian visitor visa before you go to Ottawa. In my case this was entirely handled by the attorneys of my company. So I will not be able to throw light on the Canadian visa process. 

Again my US Visa process was also handled by my Company attorneys and I had to just electronically sign the DS-160. Even the visa appointment was again taken care of by the attorneys. My attorneys had also sent me the bunch of documents which I would need for my interview. Although only 3 documents were actually required during the entire interview process. You will know which those were, as you read through my experience. 

FYI, my Green Card is under process and my I-140 has been approved as of date. 

One link I would like to share with you folks is as below. It tells you comprehensively what documents are needed. This link literally over prepared me and gave me a lot of confidence. Hopefully it might help you all. 

http://forum.murthy.com/index.php?/topic/49884-... 

Thursday, March 27th 2014 
1. Landed in Ottawa at about 5:00 PM EST 
2. Hired a cab from Ottawa airport to hotel Residence Inn located at Ottawa downtown. The cab charged $35 (Canadian $) including the gratuity. 
3. Within the vicinity of 1 mile around the hotel there are hoards of Asian restaurants and others like McDonalds, Wendys, Subway etc. You can also google and find many other hotels/motels/lodgings in the Ottawa downtown at very low rates as low as even $58 plus taxes per day. Rate depends upon when you book. 

Friday, March 28th, 2014 
1. Hired a cab (since it was snowing and raining) from hotel to US Embassy. My interview was scheduled at 9:30 AM EST. Cab charged $8 (Canadian $) and took less than 10 minutes in the morning traffic to reach the US Embassy. 

2. I was allowed inside the US Embassy at about 9:00 AM EST. Initially I was frisked outside the Embassy before letting in through the first door. 

3. Once inside all the documents, belt, wallet, blazer was passed through the scanner. PLEASE DO NOT TAKE CELL PHONES, ELECTRONIC DEVICES, FLASH DRIVES, CAMERAS etc. 

4. After that I was allowed through the second door to go inside where a lady greeted me and asked for my; 
a. Passport 
b. DS-160 confirmation page 

c. I-797 

5. These were the only documents asked. None other documents. Next I was directed to go to window 7. 

6. At window 7 the person checked the documents and gave me a token and another plastic pamphlet which you need read and agree to give your ten prints. Then I was asked to sit and wait for the person in window 6 to call me to give my ten prints. The person at window 7 retained my passport, I-797 and DS-160 confirmation. 

7. After more than an hour I was called at window 6 to give my ten prints. On the completion of ten prints I was given a yellow folder with my passport, I-797 and DS-160 confirmation. The yellow folder had the same token number on it as the one given by window 7 to me before. 

8. After a wait of another hour plus, my token number was called out by the Visa Officer(VO) from window number 2. 

9. Following are the excerpts of the interview; 
VO: Good morning 
Me: Good morning officer, how are you doing today? 
VO: Good and you? 
Me: Except for the nasty weather, I am doing awesome (I answered with smile) 
VO: So which company do you work for? 
Me: I work for XXXXXX 
VO: What do you do in that company? 
Me: I work as ABC (designation) 
VO: how long have you been with this company? 
Me: I have been with this company for N months 
VO: How long have you been in US? 
Me: I have been in US for M months 
VO: Are you married? 
Me: Yes 
VO: So your wife does not need a visa? Where is she now? 
Me: My wife is in US. She got her Visa (H4) stamped in India where she had been in 2013. I could not travel with her as I was busy with my assignments here in US. 
VO: I approve your visa 
Me: Thank you officer 
The officer gave me a white paper which has instructions of how to track the status of your stamped passport. 
Since next two days were weekend holidays, I stayed at the hotel and loitered around in Ottawa downtown. 


Monday, March 31st, 2014: 
I used the links mentioned in that white paper to track. But till 7:00 PM evening there were no updates. Still I checked my mail and was surprised to receive a mail from Loomis at about 6:00 PM EST which said that they have picked up my passport from the Embassy and also mentioned the Waybill number. Still there was no update on the link provided by the white paper given to me by VO. Finally at about 10:45 PM EST the link provided on the white paper by the VO got updated with the Loomis waybill number and status as In Transit. 

Tuesday, April 1st 2014 
I wanted to know if my passport was ready for pick up. So I tried calling Loomis but they never responded to any of my calls and voice messages I kept for them. Finally I thought I would take a chance and go to Loomis location to see if luck would smile on me and I could secure my passport. And Lo ! ! ! !....Luck did smile and I got my passport with US Visa stamped on it. 

IMPORTANT PART to REMEMBER: If the passport is picked up by Loomis from the US Embassy on say for example day 1, which they usually do at about 6:00 PM then, it is always available in the local Loomis branch for pick up next day at 10:00 AM. So even if there is no update from Loomis to pick up, you can straight away walk to Loomis location and pick it up. This is what the Loomis guy at the location told me when I mentioned it to him that I had taken a chance to see if my passport was available for pickup since there was no update on their portal for passport pick up. The only update was In Transit and I could still pick my passport up the next day. 

REMEMBER the following; 
1. With the VO, SPEAK THE TRUTH & JUST THE TRUTH. NO LIES. 
2. Be CONFIDENT (NOT over confident) 
3. Speak SLOWLY but CLEARLY 
4. Look into the eyes of the VO while talking to him. You DONT need to STARE at the VO but be at ease as you respond. 
5. Be attentive about what the VOs questions are. Do not make him repeat his queries. 
6. Preferably dress well. I was formally dressed with blazer, tie, trousers and formal shoes. It does make a difference. There were others who were in hoodies and some others in their sports wear and also jean & T-shirts but even they got their visas. Remember when you go there you are representing not only your employer but our country too. So some etiquette will go a long way in creating a good impression not only about you but even other who will follow you for their interviews. Again I leave it to you as far as your dressing is concerned. 
7. Try to have a smile all the while as you answer. DO NOT SHOW your NERVOUSNESS. I know everyone is nervous just as even I was. 
8. Be prepared with your answers. You can google into hoards of forums and there are experiences of other people too. You can learn a lot and prepare yourself well in advance.
9. One very important point to note is keep all your documents ready and DO NOT FALTER if the VO asks for any of those documents. Know in advance which document is kept where in the bunch you carry. If VO asks for any document slowly and calmly hand him off whatever he has asked. Attaching a tag to each document might help, just a suggestion. In my case I was lucky as nothing was asked from me. 
10. Answer to the point. 
11. I was neither asked about my client or client letter nor was asked for any other documents except for the passport, DS-160 confirmation and I-797. They did not even ask me for the US visa interview appointment letter(which comes with MRV fee receipt) or employer letter or for that matter my employer hiring/contract letter. But that does not mean they might not ask not ask others. Please use the link I have shared before which again comprehensively tells you about another persons experience and the complete list of documents to carry. And yes I did carry all those documents mentioned in that link although they were never needed. 

I hope my experience will help others and wish everyone all the very best.
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